Sandusky looks into compliance with federal, state guidelines
Three city housing department employees were put on administrative leave Friday because of possible non-compliance with state and federal housing program guidelines.
"Federal money is being expended and liens are placed on people's homes, and the city needs to determine compliance has occurred and, if not, compliance must be accomplished," said Don Icsman, city law director.
Program administrator Mary Bird, program coordinator Kaye Conway and rehab specialist Mark Warren will remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Attorney Michael Murman, who specializes in ethics law, was brought in to conduct the investigation, Icsman said. Murman could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Several weeks ago Interim City Manager Don Miears and City Planner Carrie Handy were asked to sign off on the city's compliance with Community Housing Improvement Program guidelines for 2005 and 2006.
"Simultaneously, (Handy) had received complaints concerning some of the work being performed under the 2007 program year," Icsman said.
The city then decided to do a self-audit to see if guidelines had been followed.
As the program files were reviewed, some discrepancies were found that raised a red flag, Icsman said. Additional investigation revealed that another federally-funded program may be involved with the non-compliance issues. City leaders did not specify the nature of the non-compliance.
It's still too early to tell how many city departments may be involved, said Interim City Manager Don Miears.
Icsman said that as a conduit for state and federal funds, it is the city's duty to ensure that its employees and citizens are treated fairly.
Icsman said county prosecutor Kevin Baxter was made aware of the situation should any further action need to be taken.